Kids and adults of all ages love getting dressed up for Halloween. And we all need some essentials to get our Halloween look just right.

A spooky Halloween outfit, dramatic hair styling, face makeup, and fake blood to complete the look.

But what if that Halloween makeup contains ingredients you’d rather not use on yours or your kids faces? Not to mention the makeup remover needed to get it off.

What we need are some beautifully safe Halloween makeup ideas.

The hidden ingredients in Halloween makeup

This article from Campaign for Safer Cosmetics explains how some American Halloween makeup kits marketed at kids are contaminated with heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.

Isn’t that terrifying?

There are no safe levels set on exposure to lead. It can cause a range of long-lasting health problems including hyperactivity and learning difficulties.

Cadmium is an endocrine disruptor that interferes with hormones.

UK and European makeup is generally safer than US makeup.

“Non-toxic” Halloween makeup

In the UK, many brands of Halloween makeup are labelled non-toxic. In this case, you’d expect a safer product than the kind mentioned above.

These brands still concern me. That’s because although the ingredients are FDA approved, they’re not perfectly safe and healthy for children.

Without mentioning individual brands, if you go and look in the supermarkets you’ll see Halloween makeup with worrysome ingredients such as:

Hit the links on each to see why I won’t buy skincare containing any of these ingredients.

The reason shop-bought cosmetics contain preservatives is because they need to stay fresh on the shelf.

You should never use these kinds of face paints on under threes.

Most of the products recommend a patch test first. You shouldn’t have do this! Whatever is designed for use on children should be kind and gentle enough to trust not to cause any rash or irritation.

That’s my personal opinion, who is with me on that?

The takeaway here is to always thoroughly check ingredients before using makeup products.

There must be a safer and healthier way! Let’s have a look at some of the safe Halloween makeup options.

Make your own safe Halloween makeup

It’s really hard to find clean and safe Halloween face paints that don’t contain phenoxyethanol. Your best bet is to make your own safe Halloween makeup.

DIY face paint is really easy to do, and you can be quite confident what’s gone in to it.

Just mix a nappy cream, like Weleda White Mallow Nappy Cream, with natural food colouring gels to make your own safe Halloween makeup.

The cat look using safe Halloween makeup I made at home

Okay, so my face painting skills could use some polishing, but I did this in 10 minutes while Jonah had his nap. Bear in mind I’m a first time Mum who’s never painted a face before in my life!

But it really shows how you can get nice colour and finish from something so easy to make at home.

What you need

How to do it

  • Squirt some nappy cream on to the back of your hand or a small plate
  • Give the colouring tube a good rub before squeezing so it’s not watery
  • Add the colouring a little at a time
  • Use a brush to apply

It dries off quite well and won’t brush on to clothes once it’s dry.

Bear in mind the zinc oxide in nappy cream can be a little drying on face skin. It’s only going to be on for a few hours, though!

It wiped off just fine with a Water Wipe and didn’t stain my skin. It might stain clothes though, so take care!

Washing off my cat face

Knowing what Jonah is like, I’d say these face paints are probably not suitable for under twos as they just don’t get it and would try to eat it and smear it everywhere before it had chance to dry!

Fake blood

Fake blood you can buy from the shops never discloses its ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I never use anything on my own or Jonah’s skin without first checking the ingredients.

That’s why I’ll be making my own fake blood using a recipe like this one from the Guardian.

Temporary hair colouring

I avoid temporary hair colouring available in spray cans. Most of them have warnings not to use if you suffer hair loss – they seem really harsh and unnatural.

Hair chalks may be a safer bet if you really want to colour your hair. These look great and they say they’re non-toxic, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them about the ingredients. The difference is that they won’t come into contact with the skin.


If you’re going for the wild hair look (like me as Mrs Beetlejuice in the picture above) then you’ll need hairspray options.

I use John Masters Organics Hairspray which is plant-based and contains aloe vera and bergamot.

Final thoughts on safer Halloween makeup

Halloween makeup is a lot of fun, but I’ve yet to find a completely clean and safe option available for sale. The safest bet is to make your own, and we’ve seen how to do that with nappy cream and some gel food colouring. What fun!

Are you using face makeup for Halloween? What are you and the kids dressing up as?

Let me know if the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy spooking!


How to make and buy safe Halloween makeup


  1. Love this, thanks for sharing! I am always hesitant to put so much of the store bought Halloween makeup on my face. These are great options for dressing up!

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing these good alternatives. I never want to buy Halloween makeup so these are great options.

    • I’ve bought it in the past and now I cringe at the ingredients! Glad you found the post helpful, thanks!

  3. Emily Anne Reply

    Oh wow, I’ve never thought about how many chemicals are actually in halloween make up, but it makes sense! Great options and makes it more fun when you do it yourself!!

    • It’s worrying isn’t it? It’s quite necessary with shop-bought products to use preservatives to inhibit mould and bacteria growth. Homemade is great if you have time since you can make just the right amount – no need to preserve it!

  4. Thanks for sharing. I’m a professional makeup artist so there are definitely safe options out there, but if you don’t want to spend the money, this is a great option for beginners.

    • Oh wow, I’d love to hear about them and I’ll feature them here! I’m in the UK and our top brand contain phenoxyethanol which comes with several health concerns, especially for children. Thanks for reading!

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